USDA Invests $4.8 Million in University Agricultural Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 19 grants totaling $4,790,100 to support agricultural science programs at non-land-grant universities. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Capacity Building Grants for Non-Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Our nation’s ability to achieve nutritional security in the context of the multitude of biological and environmental constraints will require continued new discoveries and a cadre of graduates who are prepared to enter the agricultural workforce,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments in supporting transformative research and education at the more than 80 higher education institutions that offer strong agricultural sciences programs is critical.”

NIFA’s NLGCA program offers competitive grants to help these institutions maintain and expand their capacity to conduct education, research, and outreach activities in agriculture, renewable resources, and related disciplines. NLGCAs also support the economic vitality of rural communities by funding new degree programs that emphasize new and emerging employment opportunities.

Awards for 2016 include:

  • Arkansas State University, Arkansas, $149,016
  • California State University, Chico, California, $150,000
  • California State University, Bakersfield, California, $149,753
  • California State University Fresno Foundation, Fresno, California, $148,699
  • Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, $300,000
  • Western Kentucky University Research Foundation, Bowling Green, Kentucky, $297,278
  • Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, $149,868
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota, $30,000
  • Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, $298,669
  • Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, $137,074
  • Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Missouri, $150,000
  • Montclair State College, Upper Montclair, New Jersey, $150,000
  • SUNY College of Agriculture & Technology, Cobleskill, New York, $749,216
  • Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, $150,000
  • University of Tennessee at Martin, Tennessee, $299,989
  • Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, $283,072
  • Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, $749,404
  • Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, $148,556
  • University of Wisconsin, Platteville, Wisconsin, $299,506

Among the funded projects, a Montclair State University project will investigate how farmers markets in urban communities can improve both farmer livelihoods and nutrition among low-income consumers. Texas Tech University will create a new academic and outreach program on Global Food Security to train the next generation of change agents to help to reduce hunger on a global scale.

More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.

Among past projects, a University of Tennessee at Martin project created a mobile energy classroom to share knowledge on traditional and renewable energy production and conservation. Fort Hays State University is developing curricula to help the next generation of farm managers, technicians, and crop advisors use small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) in precision agriculture

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